China News Agency, Santos, Brazil, January 3rd, title: Goodbye, "Ball King" Pele
China News Agency reporter Mo Chengxiong
"Goodbye, 'Ball King' Pele!"
From 10:00 on January 2 to the same time on January 3, local time, more than 230,000 Brazilians came to the Villabel Miro Stadium in Santos, Sao Paulo, to bid farewell to three-time World Cup football champion Pele.
At around 14:00 on the 3rd, Bailey's body was buried in a "vertical" cemetery less than one kilometer away from the stadium.
The Villa Belmiro Stadium is the home stadium of the Brazilian football team Santos, and it also records the shining moments of Pele's brilliant football career.
During the 18 years he played for the team from 1956 to 1974, Pele made 660 appearances and scored 643 goals.
Bailey's coffin was placed in the mourning hall set up in the stadium. The coffin was covered with the Santos team flag and the Brazilian flag, surrounded by garlands.
At 9 am on the 3rd, the new Brazilian President Lula and his wife came to the Villa Belmiro Stadium to say goodbye to Pele.
Meanwhile, Lula and Bailey's relatives hugged one by one to express condolences and condolences.
Lula posted on social media that day, "Pelé's death is an irreparable loss for Brazil."
The day before, Brazil's new vice president Alkemin, Sao Paulo governor Freitas, FIFA president Infantino, and the presidents of the South American Football Confederation and the Brazilian Football Association all participated in the farewell ceremony for Pele's remains.
Freitas said the Sao Paulo state government would consider naming the iconic facility at the port of Santos after Pele as a memorial.
Infantino said FIFA would ask all member associations to name a stadium after Pele.
Bailey's death caught the attention of the world.
The Santos club said more than 5,000 journalists from around the world were allowed to cover Pele's farewell ceremony and funeral.
After the farewell ceremony, Pele's coffin went on a farewell parade on the main street of Santos. Thousands of citizens came to see him off along the way. They cheered and applauded the eternal "ball king" all the way.
When the coffin passed by Bailey's mother's residence, the parade people stopped consciously. While singing songs praising "The King of Balls", they shouted and prayed for the mother of "The King of Balls", expressing their deep respect.
Bailey's mother, who turned 100 last November, did not attend her son's farewell due to health concerns.
Elja Pereira, 69, could not hold back tears as the parade approached.
He said: "Pelé was a great footballer and I am deeply saddened by his passing."
Flora Araujo, 73, said: "When you see an elderly mother say her last goodbye to her child, you cry. Because I am also a mother."
A fan from Minas Gerais said that he came to Santos the day before the farewell ceremony, in order to be able to see the "ball king" Pele for the last time.
On December 29, 2022 local time, Bailey died of multiple organ failure due to colon cancer at the Albert Einstein Hospital in Sao Paulo, Brazil, at the age of 82.
Bailey, whose real name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento, was born on October 23, 1940 in Tres Corasos, Minas Gerais, Brazil. He represented the Brazilian national team in 92 games. Scored 77 goals and won three World Cup championships in 1958, 1962 and 1970. He is the only football player in the world who has won the World Cup three times and is known as the "king of the ball".